On paper, this past Sunday’s Season 8 finale of “The Walking Dead” was one of the biggest in history, promising the epic finale to the years-long “all-out war” storyline that was being billed as a big time game-changer for the series. It seemed to be a must-watch episode, to say the least. Unfortunately for AMC, the ratings didn’t reflect that.
The numbers are in and “Wrath” was the least-watched finale of “The Walking Dead” since Season 1 back in 2010, when the show was just starting to grow its audience. The Season 8 finale pulled in 7.9 million viewers, down significantly (over 30%) from the 11.31 million viewers who tuned in for the Season 7 finale last year.
For comparison’s sake, here are the numbers for every season finale:
- Season 1: 5.97 million
- Season 2: 8.99 million
- Season 3: 12.42 million
- Season 4: 15.68 million
- Season 5: 15.78 million
- Season 6: 14.19 million
- Season 7: 11.31 million
- Season 8: 7.9 million
Deadline details, “Up 18% in total viewership from the April 8 penultimate “Worth” episode, TWD’s Season 8 ender snared 4.4 million in the 18-49 demo it has so long dominated to hit a 3.4 rating. Even taking into account the fans who might have ventured out of Sunday to watch the season ender in cinemas on the big screen, that’s a 42% drop in the demo from the Season 7 finale of last year.”
Granted, “The Walking Dead” is still one of the healthiest, most popular shows on TV, but the ratings decline in recent years certainly suggests that many viewers are no longer interested in the series, now in its eighth year on television. For such a major finale to dip so low in the ratings is nothing if not a concerning sign for the show’s future.
Meanwhile, the Season 4 premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead,” which literally picked up right where “The Walking Dead” left off and brought main show character Morgan Jones into the world of the spinoff series, nabbed 4.1 million viewers on Sunday night. It was the spinoff’s highest rated episode since the first half of Season 2 back in 2016.